You know that friend who has traveled to all corners of the world and had tea with the Dalai Lama? Well, chances are he or she hasn’t been to Zambia. In the center of Africa’s southern prong, landlocked Zambia has never had the kind of public transportation or low-cost accessibility that has attracted independent travelers to some other African destinations.
Though it has fallen outside the backpacker circuit, the country offers great travel experiences within its borders; the nation’s still-undercommercialized national parks and wilderness may be some of Africa’s finest. A visit to Zambia may also include trips to the acclaimed Victoria Falls, which lie partly across the border in Zimbabwe. Add some of the most exciting festival culture on the whole continent, and you have a place that is truly worth visiting.
So, put in for your two or weeks of vacation and take flight. Untrammeled Zambia aw
The Top 8: What to Do in Zambia
1. Safari in South Luangwa National Park:
South Luangwa is among the great wildlife sanctuaries. Find a tour through your lodge, or arrange to rent a four-by-four and do the driving yourself. After taking in the amazing sights, head out to the shops along the main entrance road and have yourself a beer to celebrate a day well spent.
2. Bungee Jumping over Victoria Falls:
With Bushtracks Africa, you can take just a few seconds to crash through one of the most exhilarating rides of your life above these gorgeous falls. If falling from heights at an outrageous speed isn’t your thing, you may still find plenty more to do in this tourist-friendly area.
3. Raft in the Batoka Gorge:
Combine high-energy rapids, exquisite scenery, and the chance to listen to and gaze on surrounding wildlife, and you have the elements that make white-water rafting in Zambia a world-class experience. The Batoka Gorge rafts launch from just below the Victoria Falls. More-extensive, multiday Zambezi River trips are offered by Global Descents and may be the hard-core outdoorsman’s preferred choice.
4. Tour Livingstone:
Zambia’s gateway to the falls is typically overshadowed by Zimbabwe’s more commercial and frequented Victoria Falls city. Livingstone has a lot to offer, though: the city’s namesake museum has sections covering history, archaeology, and art. The Railway Museum recalls a colonial past and even organizes a stroll through town that allows you to see colonial architecture at the North Western Hotel, the St. Andrews Anglican Church, and the Coillard Memorial Church.
5. Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage:
Write or call ahead, and ask the selfless volunteers who run this center whether you may stop by and learn about their important work in saving infant chimpanzees. Even if you can’t visit, consider making a donation.
6. Lake Kariba:
Zambia’s tourist department boasts that this manmade body of water is the host of “Zambia’s undiscovered Rivera!” Not quite, but it is very pleasing and can make for a welcome break from high-adrenaline white-water rafting and safaris. Get cozy in one of the lodges on Lake Kariba, or rent a houseboat. Learn about the dam that created the lake and the efforts to rehabilitate the Batonga tribe, which was displaced by the lake’s creation.
If you are traveling in Zambia, you have probably seen many a metropolis more impressive than the capital city, but no trip to Zambia would be complete without at least one or two nights in Lusaka. Check on the Lowdown
for a list of what’s going on about town, and maybe visit a nightclub or a bar. Though its wares may not be on the level of those available elsewhere, browsing through a market just for the experience may be fun. For crafts, visit the Kabwata Cultural Village; an excellent ceramics market is held on the last Saturday of every month in the suburb of Kabulonga near the Dutch Reform Church.
8. Shiwa Ng’andu:
The British officer who started this renowned, resort-style lodge had come to the region to map the border lines between British and Belgium colonial claims. Legend has it that Stewart Gore-Brown fell in love with the area around Shiwa Ng’andu and, having purchased it for a song in 1914, returned to it after World War I to build a massive estate. A visit to Shiwa Ng’andu is akin to a trip to the past. Make sure to stop by the Kapishya, a natural hot spring, which sounds mighty relaxing to us.
When to Go
Though Zambia seems to fall in that tropical zone where seasons have no home, there are in fact three seasons, each offering a different reason for visiting. The dry season, from May to August, is the coolest period, and travelers seeking to see lush flora and the falls at their strongest may want to visit early at that time. The hot season, from September to November, is marked by scorching heat and extremely dry conditions but may appeal to safari-goers who want the chance to see large groups of animals clustered around ponds of water. The wet season, from December to April, can be very rainy. It’s better to catch the early end of the dry season, when the benefits of the rain are still there but you can leave the umbrella at home.